Get Set For Mobile Recruitment

Get Set For Mobile Recruitment


  • More than half of all job applications are completed on a mobile device, according to recruitment group Indeed
  • Many recruiters do not have mobile-friendly career pages, but simple solutions for creating them are available
  • With 4.4 billion users worldwide, apps are a great way of reaching candidates and sending notifications

Mobiles phones are increasingly used for job applications. With new technology, features and accessibility, recruiters need to make sure their application pages are adapted for mobile screens.

The next time you see multitudes of people in cafes and train carriages hunched over their mobile phones, don’t assume they are idling away on social media or playing Angry Birds.

Increasingly, mobile users are going online to search and apply for jobs. Recruitment group Indeed says that 51% of job applications on its site are carried out on a mobile device, and 82% of all those are completed on a smartphone rather than a tablet. Kelton Research has found that 86% of active candidates use their smartphone to begin a job search.

“Mobile recruitment has become a must-have for recruiters and businesses,” says Mike Taylor of recruitment marketing specialist Web Based Recruitment. “People now automatically expect they can use their mobile in the recruitment process and that’s across all ages and demographics, not just the young.”

However, the attitudes of employers can be a barrier, with only one in five career sites being mobile-optimised.

“The recruitment process, still largely based on written CVs, has not changed for years,” explains digital strategist Matt Alder. “A lot of businesses think mobile recruitment technology is too difficult and are not prioritising it.”

As a result, jobseekers applying for positions on most companies’ websites are becoming frustrated that they can’t complete the task. “Because they can do everything else on their mobile, people don’t even contemplate the possibility that a company’s recruitment page can’t be used as well this way,” Alder adds. “They get lost in the system because it doesn’t work properly on their mobile. When that happens, you lose many good candidates.”

Recruiters improving offerings

Taylor says the first stage is for employers to test their own career page by applying via mobile. “When I ask this at a conference, the pain on people’s faces is incredible. Employers assume it will be okay but largely it isn’t,” he states. “They also have no idea what percentage of traffic comes to their site via a mobile device. You need to understand all this before you start.”

From that point Alder says there is a range of solutions to offer, whether it’s a basic system whereby candidates use their mobile to send an email to a recruiter to express interest in a position or upload a CV via the Cloud. “This allows a candidate to tell you they are interested and give enough information to start the recruitment process,” he says. “If you’re a larger business or more tech-savvy, you can develop a more mobile-driven application process with an optimised website, apps and even video interviews.”

Cris Bradshaw, commercial director of mobile-recruitment solutions provider All The Top Bananas, has helped a bunch of major businesses such as Reed and Pepsi develop mobile-friendly websites and apps. “Having a mobile-optimised site is a must, especially with Google now ranking you down on its search listings if you’re not enabled. Instead of just stripping down your site to the bare bones for mobile, you need to retain key design traits to give your users a seamless experience. The site should also be responsive, which means that the images and text adjusts to the size of the device’s screen,” he states. “That way you don’t land on a website through your mobile and have to pinch and zoom the screen to see or do anything. That is not user-friendly.”

He says apps are a useful addition, highlighting figures from Research and Markets predicting that there will be 4.4 billion app users worldwide. “These apps aren’t going away any time soon and you can add your own on to Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store,” he states. “Apps can help by sending out job alerts to candidates via texts as soon as they emerge. Candidates can also interact with the company’s social media page and see blog and video content.”

Once it’s up and running, Bradshaw recommends marketing the app via a company’s website and through email. “There’s time and investment in setting up a mobile recruitment strategy as you need to outsource the expertise to build it,” he states. “But it can save a business thousands of pounds in average cost per hire and give the user an easier recruitment experience.”

For Taylor, this is the crux of any mobile development. “If you get a job alert on a train and you start applying for it then you want to have the continuity of finishing it off at home on a different device, such as your desktop,” he says. “People just want the basic information about the job, perhaps videos from existing employees about the role and the business, and the opportunity to apply and upload a CV. Make it as simple for the user as ordering from Amazon.”

Businesses are also encouraged to ensure that candidates can accept job offers on their mobile as well as schedule interview times.

So, what do the recruiters think?

Sarah Hopkins, director of executive search firm Hopkins Longworth, says the argument for embracing mobile recruitment is compelling. She says: “We use mobile predominantly in the candidate attraction piece to engage when we are advertising or promoting jobs. We chose an expert design partner to work with to create and set up our website, which had technology to enable us to manage it on an ongoing basis. Having an expert you can trust to reflect your employer brand across all mobile optimisation is definitely an area to spend time and effort in finding.”

She says the key parts of a mobile-friendly site should include: users not being required to scroll left and right; text to be clear to read without the need to zoom; touch-friendly pages that load quickly; and text messaging and content that are optimised for the small screen. “In a time of skills shortages, we must make it easy for people to apply,” she says. “That means responding to their behaviours. Our candidates love texts as they look at them more often than emails and it doesn’t intrude too much on their personal or working lives. They can read them when they want.”

She also points out that mobile recruitment can help employers find candidates who are comfortable with mobile technology. “One HR director we worked with said she didn’t want to meet the candidates until the last round because the role required using mobile technologies remotely, so it was a good way to assess who was the best fit,” she states.

The future of recruitment

Bradshaw sees continued growth in mobile-recruitment user numbers and a development in services. “We are already developing phone recruitment tests for a business where a candidate will switch their device’s camera on and answer a set of questions,” he says. “It can save time in that first elimination stage.”

Alder says the use of mobile phone games to assess the suitability of a candidate for a particular job will also be in vogue. Hopkins sees wearable technology playing a role, with candidates getting job alerts on their Fitbits and other devices.

Whether it’s in the gym or back in that cafe or train carriage, recruiters and businesses must be ready in the race for talent.




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